Old vs New Bridle


New Member
Simple question: Is it worth the effort to replace the early bridle with the later design which can slide?

Slightly deeper:

I've been enjoying my early '70s Sunfish this summer, but I'm always looking for things I could improve. Been thinking about new lines (current ones are about 15 years old but not not used much and stored inside).

One of the issues I have with the boat is that the tiller jams in the bridle in some circumstances. I've also wondered why the bridle doesn't let the mainsheet slide back and forth. Looking at SunfishDirect, there were two setups, one with the center loop (which I have) and one with just the anchor loops (the later style).

I think the later style of bridle would let the mainsheet slide like I think it should, although it looks like I'd have to drill out rivets. I do have three access ports, two either side of the daggerboard trunk and one port near the rudder bracket. I think I have the older style of hull construction (marked AMF/Alcort, lip under the cockpit edge, originally had old-style rudder mount but was converted before I got it) if this matters. It's a few bucks of hardware and a new clip for the mainsheet otherwise.

Is this worth the effort to do? I think it would help the sail shape a little bit but I think the improvements overall would be minor.
It is worth the effort to get rid of the 3 loop bridle.

We are not racers and what we like to use is a bridle made of line, similar in diameter to the halyard, 5/32nd inch I believe, New England Ropes Sta-Set. Cut off the old bridle and tie the new line in with Figure 8 knots on either end. With this method there is no need to remove screws from the bridle eyestraps.
How long on the line? Reason why a figure-8 and not a bowline?

The mechanical engineer in me likes the SS cables, but this is more elegant and I'm sure I will convince myself to cut the bridle off in about a week...
Ebay has a Veteran making stainless cable bridles for Sunfish. ($20).

I made my own s/s bridles for my fleet, but the three should have been made ionger. :confused: I used transparent shrink-tubing at the turns to protect the deck from scratches.
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The line should be long enough to give comfortable clearance over the tiller plus whatever you need to tie knots on each end.

A bowline would prevent the sheet from traveling all the way to the eyestrap, but I don't think the sheet normally does that anyway.

You can try the line and decide if you want to find a 2 loop bridle.
I was done with the SS cable and ferrel making a mess of the deck top and tiller varnish. I replaced using 1/4 inch Dynema from We$t Marine.


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My cables aren't actually too bad considering, the plastic is still intact and they aren't too frayed. Looking at a "new" (to me) lower boom, since mine's falling apart, and a new mainsheet as well. Maybe it's time.

Is there an advantage to the knot in the middle? That's specifically what I'm trying to get rid of, I think it "forces" the sail geometry. I guess if it's just line, it's not too hard to try both ways
We are convinced that the location middle loop imparts an unwelcome rolling moment on the upwind gunwale. Skipper let me know with her unique salty pirate vocabulary to get the piece of %*&! off of her boat. Purely unscientific.

I had to edit the video to make it PG-13. She wanted more travel for the sheet. When she caught puffs, the boat wanted to roll. We also found a longer daggerboard (39 inche spoon tip) than what came with the wooden Sunfish (31 inch spoon tip) helped with tacking, reducing leeway and dampened roll.

The 3 Loop bridle is no longer made that we know of and not legal? for racers. There must be reasons.